Location
  • Bolivia
    • Cochabamba
Length
2 - 12 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Student Tour
Timeframe
Summer
Housing
Dormitory Host Family Lodge Tent
Language
Spanish
Age Min.
15
Age Max
19

Pricing

Starting Price
7550
Price Details
The land cost for Bolivia: Spirit of the Andes is $7,550 for 4 weeks. Need-based scholarships are available!
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Oct 23, 2023
Jan 27, 2022
2 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Immerse yourself in the Andes: perform a ritual ceremony for Pachamama, trek over snow-swept passes, and discuss the impacts of large-scale resource extraction with local communities.

In the heart of South America, the Andes Mountains and dense jungles of the Amazon inform daily life at every turn. Known as a land of extremes, Bolivia is home to some of the most staggering cultural and ecological diversity on the planet. Host to 36 distinct ethnic and language groups, vast mountain ranges, dense Amazonian jungle, and a shifting socio-political landscape, Bolivia provides a vast panorama for students to explore the links between past and present in the heart of South America. Students integrate into several local communities through extended home-stays, focused language study, and a direct engagement with local activists and politicians.

Scholarships and college credit available.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Unfortunately, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and skin tone exists in different forms all over the world. In some destinations, especially rural or ethnically homogenous areas, people may not have had much exposure to racial diversity. As such, people with certain physical characteristics may experience unwanted attention. Most commonly, this might include staring, insensitive comments, people taking your photo (with or without asking), or attempts to touch your skin or hair. Black students traveling in parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa have often reported higher levels of unwanted attention than their peers. White students traveling in parts of Asia and Africa have also reported receiving unwanted attention. Students are encouraged to communicate with staff if they feel their personal boundaries are being violated or if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any situation. We encourage you to believe your peers if/when they share experiences like this with you.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Social, cultural, religious, political, and legal attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community vary around the world. According to the Global Acceptance Index, average levels of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people around the world have been increasing since 1981. However, many countries where Dragons operates programs may have social discrimination or even laws against being LGBTQ+. We have safely supported LGBTQ+ students in all of our program areas, and provide specific cultural and geographic advice to help students stay safe on course.

In some cases, students may be advised not to speak about their sexual orientations and/or gender identities with local contacts (such as homestay families, ISP mentors, language teachers, and guest speakers) due to safety concerns. Likewise, transgender and non-binary students may have to choose to present outwardly as male or female in certain contexts during the program. In other cases, “coming out” to some or all host community members may be a safe choice.

Neurodivergent Support

For students with neuro-differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, TS, and dyspraxia), it is important to be aware that neurodiversity is likely viewed differently abroad than at home. People might not be familiar with labels or terms that are very common where you come from. If you struggle with lots of external stimuli, you should be prepared that you will be in some environments that are louder and busier than what you are used to.

Accessibility Support

If you are a student with a physical disability, you might encounter challenges around accessibility than you have at home. Many of the places we travel at Dragons don’t have building codes or other regulations in place to support people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. You may need accommodations or support that you don’t usually require in your life at home.

Impact

Sustainability

Dragons defines responsible travel as travel that is culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in the communities to which we travel. Over the course of Dragons 25+ year history, we have cultivated long-standing relationships with respected community leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs and professionals involved in environmental and cultural preservation. In the more than 20 countries in which Dragons has operated, we have steadfastly adhered to minimum impact travel, an accurate and informed understanding of place, and the realization of maximum benefit for the communities we visit.

Ethical Impact

Dragons believes that we need to shift the way we think of volunteer travel. Instead of focusing on “service work”—on the idea that short-term volunteers can contribute to communities abroad—we advocate a paradigm shift: we choose, instead, to focus on “learning service.”

Learning Service is a holistic experience that combines an intimate and authentic engagement with the local community, the study of effective development, and the contribution to an established community-driven project. It is the process of living, working alongside, and humbly absorbing the culture of those being served while coordinating closely with project managers to understand the trajectory of the project, from inception to completion and beyond. It is an acknowledgment that often it is the volunteer who stands to gain as much or more from the work. And it is a commitment to making contributions that create positive impacts in the communities coupled with the humility to always listen and learn first.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

Program Highlights

  • Explore land use and relationships, indigenous identity and representation, social and political activism, the coca leaf, sustainable agriculture, and the arts.
  • Enjoy a 10-day homestay outside of Cochabamba, and a shorter homestay in a rural mountain community.
  • Take on two multi-day treks in the high Andes, with additional wilderness exploration in Bolivia's lush rainforests.
  • Participate in extended formal language lessons, with opportunities for language immersion throughout. Quechua classes are also available.
  • Engage with issues in resource management, globalization, indigenous rights and representation, urbanization, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.

Program Reviews

4.50 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 5 rating 50%
  • 4 rating 50%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4
  • Support 4.5
  • Fun 4
  • Housing 3.5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Default avatar
Mariner
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!

My experience in Bolivia was amazing and completely changed my life. I met some of the most incredible people and learned so much about the bolivian culture from the homestays and getting the opportunity to be fully immersed in their traditions. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who seeks an adventure but also a learning experience. I would especially recommend this trip to anyone who wants to be pushed outside their comfort zone and explore different aspects of the world that might aid them in their personal growth.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment for me was the trek and the physical intensity of it all. There were definitely moments where I was exhausted and scared but the people around me were so supportive and the view was captivating that I knew I had and could push through. I completed the trek feeling so proud but also loved, the whole group completed this challenge together despite the fear and nerves around it.
64 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sarah
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great homestay, fun adventures

Both homestays during the trip were incredible experiences! The families were so welcoming and you learn a lot about their lifestyles just by sharing a meal with them. The hiking was stunning - anyone looking for an adventure will love the Bolivia trip! I would recommend doing the Bolivia trip with Where There Be Dragons for anyone looking for an off-the-map trip that stays away from the typical tourist route.

75 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers